WATERVILLE — The recent fires at the Huhtamaki paper product factory on the Fairfield-Waterville municipal line will not affect the company’s output significantly, according to a Huhtamaki news release issued Thursday afternoon.

“The finished goods storage is located well away from the area where the fire took place, and there is no damage to those products,” wrote Wess Hudelson, the company’s North American communications manager. “We also store products in external warehouses. We believe we have enough inventory and redundancy in production from other locations that no significant service disruptions will take place.”

On Tuesday evening, a large fire burned through the roof just before 5:30 p.m. at the 242 College Ave. property. The blaze reportedly was caused by one of the company’s B15 dryers, which are used to harden soft paper after it has been stamped. Firefighters from Waterville, Fairfield-Benton, Winslow and about a dozen other communities worked to control the blaze in temperature reaching as low as 10 degrees until close to 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. Hot spots on the roof reignited eight hours later, and then firefighters brought the rekindling under control about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Hudelson said production resumed Thursday in “areas unaffected by the fire.”

“Remaining areas affected by the fire should return to normal operations within four weeks,” he wrote in the news release.

Waterville fire Chief Shawn Esler lauded Huhtamaki’s safety protocols at the scene on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“If they didn’t have such a good safety program here at the facility, we’d see a lot more fires,” he said. “Huhtamaki does a pretty good job with their fire prevention and suppression program. They call the Fire Department fairly early.”

Hudelson confirmed that no employees were injured by the smoke or flames and that people evacuated the area soon after the danger was clear.

“Safety is our top priority,” he said. “All employees at our facility frequently review fire and all safety precautions to ensure that everyone understands how to respond to and prevent incidents.”

He added that fire doors in the affected area of the facility contained the fire and limited damage to the building and machinery.

“We wish to extend our gratitude to all local fire and emergency responders for their tremendous response to the fire at our facility in sub-freezing conditions,” Hudelson said. “Your efforts are greatly appreciated.”

One firefighter was injured while responding to the fire call on Wednesday night and received treatment at a local hospital for a twisted muscle.

Meg Robbins — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @megrobbins

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